Modern Parenting

I’ve been a mother for 24 years now. There are some things that I do really well. I love reading to my kids. I make delicious homemade rolls and I know some fantastic camp songs. I’m always up for a road trip or a Wheel of Fortune, though recently we’ve been watching The Joy of Painting.

But there are multiple entries on the other side of the parenting spectrum. Close to the top: I’m a terrible Tooth Fairy.

Honestly, I find the Tooth Fairy a bit obnoxious, a unnecessary contractual obligation. I know what our dental premiums cost. We’ve had two kids in braces, three with completed wisdom teeth extractions, and we’ve just finished expanding Johnny’s palate. I can’t stand the sight of blood and loose teeth make me nauseous. Seriously, why do they always fall out around dinner time? I’ve lost count of cavities filled and seemingly endless trips to the dentist for cleanings.

For ten. Times two. Per calendar year.

So I find it rather inconvenient to collect individual teeth late at night and pony up a $1 bill for a natural process. I guess I’m a bit of a dental Grinch.

However, I trained as an archivist in graduate school. So I recognize the importance of those little letters left under pillows, desperately pleading for cold, hard cash. There have been some great ones over the years. Because it’s a matter of grave importance when a lost tooth is lost.

Here’s the translation of that gem:

“Dear Tooth Fairy,

I lost my tooth when I bulled my tooth out. But I lost it in a bag. If I don’t find it, can I have a 1 dollar bill even if I don’t find it?

Love, Miffy.”

The other day, Johnny lost a tooth. At an inconvenient time. My best mothering instincts told me to pay attention and acknowledge the big event. But my worst human instincts kicked in, screaming to move on to more important life matters. Like dinner. And laundry. And the electric bill.

Thankfully, someone else was paying attention. As child #6, Mary Frances has often been on the suffering end of Tooth Fairy neglect. She now understands how things operate around our home. That life experience, coupled with a heart as pure as gold, compelled her to action.

Naturally, I turned in for the night having forgotten the significant dental event of the evening. As my body collapsed into bed, absorbing the warmth of my down comforter, I heard a small voice and sensed the presence of a child. It was Mary Frances. She spoke softly, tapping me on the shoulder. “Mom, do you want me to take care of Johnny’s tooth?”. I muttered my consent, closing my eyes as I chased sleep.

The next morning, Johnny waved his crisp dollar bill, thrilled that his loss had turned into a win. I packed his lunch and Mary Frances smiled a knowing smile. As they left for the school bus, I remembered to look for a dollar bill to reimburse my substitute Tooth Fairy. I chuckled as I looked into my wallet and found no greenback.

Then a stroke of genius hit. I grabbed my phone and logged into our bank. I sent her the reimbursement via electronic means. $1 of currency floating through cyberspace, landing in her savings account.

With the memo: Tooth Fairy Fee.

4 thoughts on “Modern Parenting

  1. Seriously!! an electronic “Tooth Fairy Fee” ?!?!?!
    Madre Dios😵‍💫
    Kathleen, I love you, and, fortunately, it’s the tooth!
    Aunt Cynthia❤️☘️


  2. I once lost Vivian’s tooth before she got a chance to put it under her pillow so I made one out of clay …a pretty good one with long roots and everything. It will be saved with the other (real ones) in a jar for the rest of my life 😂


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